Since their debut in 2012, FKA twigs have never ceased to amaze with their creative, boundary-pushing music videos. From the austere and heavily conceptual art videos of his early EPs to the expansive and lush visual accompaniments of his latest albums, his videos have become unrivaled in style, technique and execution. At this point in his career, they are totally idiosyncratic.
Like any great Capricorn, it’s clear that Twigs are completely devoted to their craft. As it has grown over the years, its visual style has also evolved, though, notably, its signature sharpness is still intact.
Below, we’ve scoured Twig’s vast catalog to identify seven essential videos that chart the trajectory of his music video’s evolution. Our biggest conclusion? She has always been ahead of her time.
In 2013, when the year’s biggest music videos spotlighted excesses like Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” or Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” – FKA twigs quietly released the seemingly simple and artistic visual of ” Water Me,” from EP2, in his corner of the internet. He inevitably ran into some confusion. Here is a giant cartoon image of his face, his eyes drawn impossibly even comically wide, slowly swaying and rocking back and forth before a giant tear slid down his cheek, defied gravity and fell on top of his head. For the casual viewer, the two minutes without action was an easy and immediate dismissal. “When this song came out, there was NOTHING but hate for it, this song and this video,” even a recent YouTube commenter recalled. “The best commentary for years was something like ‘This looks like a sequel to Splice.’”
Now, years later – aided by its popularity and people’s familiarity with decoding more abstract ideas – its message has struck home: through its own pain and sadness, the cartoon’s twigs are watered and fed. Of course, this takeaway was available to us from the start. But what remains striking is how early the twigs arrived before all of us, and how unafraid she was to introduce her without waiting for us to catch up.
Who but FKA twigs would have dared to release a video like “Papi Pacify?” It’s not hard to see how the premise of the 2013 video might have caused controversy upon release: the black-and-white visual that’s essentially five whole minutes of twigs yielding to the hands of a man around his throat and, sometimes, his fingers in his mouth. It’s a slow, glitz-infused, and perhaps ominous tableau, but the whole show is done with too much elegance and too much self-awareness to be truly concerned with “anti-feminism.” (Not that this is a benchmark we should hold videos against in the first place!)
In an interview, Twigs had to dispel any concerns about the abuse by explaining that the whole video was a metaphor for feeling silent in a relationship: “The person I was with kept me from explaining how I felt. So the physical manifestation is someone putting their hand in your mouth,” she said. And, she continued, sometimes there was an unhealthy element to loving that too — “emotional abuse can be tender. That’s why it’s fucked. Even today, admitting that the reveal may seem taboo, much less capturing it so beautifully and simplistically, and without apologies.
It’s hard to forget “Pendulum” after watching it once. The fascinating 2015 video of his first project LP1 opens with a close-up of her lips before zooming out to reveal the twiggy body bound and tied by yards and yards of her own braids. She uses the art of Japanese shibari – a form of bondage practice – to express how she constrains herself, while capturing a load of contradictions: delicacy and harshness, constriction and love. This is perhaps also where we see the first glimmer of twigs’ desire to indulge in any discipline, to push back his own physical limits, in the service of his art.
And the making of the video is also a story worth hearing. She should have helped the cameraman avoid capturing her through a male gaze by asking him to film “more interesting” parts of her body than her face and chest. “Let’s look at my calves, look at the bound feet, look at the marks on my arms,” she told them. Once again, she proves that the only reason her videos remain timeless is because of her own intervention.
When it comes to discussing FKA twigs’ greatest video hits, 2018’s “Cellophane” is a no-brainer. On a grand scale, the groundbreaking visual arguably pushed the art of pole dancing into the mainstream without completely separating it from its sex work origins. On a personal level, it was twigs running at its artistic peak, blending physical discipline, director Andrew Hwang’s keen eye, and seamless CGI into a beautiful, high-level, mid-thrust masterpiece. Delicious.
“At Home With You”
This dark and bucolic visual of twigs Magdalene The era is one of its more subtle, but still feels notable for its use of dance to drive the narrative forward. Opening in the sweaty interiors of a club, the video clears up dramatically as the scene suddenly shifts to the vast, lush open spaces of the countryside, while dancing with his friends in a car and, later, with a woman who seems to heal her. Dancing has always been an integral part of twig art, but is particularly symbolic throughout “Home With You”, a sort of spiritual movement or ritual of returning to one’s body. Throughout its four minutes, Twigs seems to be searching for something. In the end, while pulling what appears to be a younger version of her from a well, she finds him.
“Ride the Dragon”
FKA twigs is far from the first to create a music video using documentary-style truth footage. But perhaps what can be considered new (at least for the twigs) in his 2022 “riding the dragon” visual for Caprisongs this is what she chose to label: an anti-video. And indeed, there are many elements in “riding the dragon” that seem to proudly justify this label. It’s anti-shiny, anti-decor, anti-planning, as its voyeur-style shots capture twigs and its crew of dancers spontaneously bursting into dance in public spaces as well as the subsequent scoldings they receive from security guards. nearby security or police. . Endearingly, you can hear him explain – and lie – throughout the video, “We’re just doing a TikTok!” While “riding the dragon” might not really be a format change for the music video medium as a whole, it’s definitely for the twigs, who are more smiling, giggling, and seem to be having a lot of fun. more than ever.
The new FKA twig skill just dropped! If there’s one constant to analyze in twigs’ music video catalog and artistic practice, it’s its avid appetite to add more skills and disciplines to its roster. In the Magdalene At the time, it was pole dancing and wushu, a form of Chinese martial arts. For Caprisongs, we’re introduced to twigs the archer, who debuts in “meta angel” – a frenetic video that finds twigs as her own target as she draws the bow to strike. When she finally lets it fly, the head burrows into her own heart, symbolically killing her ego, or perhaps her weakness of wanting to love again.
What makes the video all the more surreal is the grainy, real quality of the footage and the flashes of viewers’ faces, curious to know what’s going on. Unlike “Cellophane” or “Pendulum”, on “meta angel” the stylistic and protective luster of metaphor is gone. They are twigs crossing a new frontier.